A lot of people seem to be sleeping on this group. Some high-brow lyric fiends might consider the U.N. to be just more of the same old gun-toting, hoodlum-style rap (which is never a bad thing anyway), but don’t get put off by boring cuts like "Russian Hat Wear" (aka the "Money" remix). Sure, Dino Brave sounds a lot like forgotten Wu-Tanger U-God, but these four emcee’s seemlessly blend righteous lessons with ignorant tough talk in the most convincing display since Divine Force‘s Sir Ibu was in his prime. Rock Marciano and Laku get the most burn, but Mike Raw and Dino earn their keep more often than not.
After the enthusiastic reception it received XXL‘s "Chairman’s Choice" (twice) and Grand Slam magazine, I knew that Rock Marciano’s "Game Of Death" (the b-side to the U.N.’s "D.O.A" 12") was worth tracking down. When I finally got a copy, I was immediately hooked. Pete Rock laced an unorthodox but completely addictive backdrop to Rock Marciano’s equally unique raps. To put it bluntly, this shit is offical! Now that I’ve gotten my hands on the complete album, it’s obvious that these Strong Island troopers are just warming up.
UN or U Out (456 Entertainment), corny title aside, contains some of the hardest drums, rawest loops and dopest flows this side of 1994. Not every track wins, but cuts like "Mind Blowin’", "Golden Grail" and "The Avenue" are worth the price of admission alone. Add on the previously released Large Pro gem "What They Want" and the remake of "Game of Death" featuring the whole team on some time to build type-shit, and you’re left with some classic hardcore rap. The remainder of the tracks are still decent, but to truly appreciate the U.N. I advise you track down the white label versions of the original, full-length recording of "The Art", a lost Pete Rock / Rock Marcy team up called "Long Time Coming" and their Reef-produced contribution to Eastern Conference All-Stars 4, "It’s Over". (I’m assuming you’re already familiar with their three contributions to the Petesrumentals album, namely the jaw-dropping "Give It To Y’All", "Nothin’ Lesser" and "Cake"). Rock Marciano’s also got a solo CD out, although it’s more of a mixtape than an official album.
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